Skip to main content

Fowler Family collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Collection number: MSS-036

Scope and Contents

The oldest items in the collection are photographs, apparently collected by or given to Rebecca Fowler. Among them are pictures of Joel Jackson Fowler and several other Fowler family members. Another photograph of Joel Jackson Fowler is pasted onto a cardboard frame bearing the inscription, “Hagos, Photo. Athens, Ga.” Other photographs depict homes in Athens, suggesting that members of the Fowler Family had lived in Athens for decades. An old photograph, partially faded, shows attendees of a meeting of the Southeastern Division of the National Electric Light Association, in Charleston, South Carolina, August 1914.

Furthermore, two photographs accompanied by an explanatory note written by Rebecca Fowler show Broad St., Augusta, Georgia. One photograph is from daylight hours, the other taken at night, to display the effect of the electric streetlights installed there. The date of these photographs is unknown.

The collection also includes a 1924 letter addressed to “Mrs. Joel J. Fowler” (Olivia Bond Fowler, 1872-1957) from Thomas E. Winn, a Confederate veteran living in Greensboro, Georgia, who served with the recipient’s father. According to the letter, Olivia Bond Fowler had written Winn asking for evidence of her father’s service in the Confederate Army.

Besides the C. D. items, the following Second World War-era items are included: ration cards, most contained within a Ration Book Holder printed by the Quality Park Envelope Co.; and a copy of the Army Song Book published by the Adjutant General’s Office, dated 1941. The C. D. armbands/ headbands were manufactured by the Felt Crafters of Plaistow, New Hampshire. The patches (bearing a red cross) were likely meant to be sewn onto a headband or armband.

Finally, the collection includes an autographed copy of Understanding by Mell M. Stephenson, an Athens resident; the signature dated December, 1952. The pamphlet, published by the McGregor Company, based in Athens, is dedicated to the author’s son, Lieutenant Mell M. Stephenson, Jr., who died during the Second World War. It is a religious book and features a foreword by E. P. Mallary, also a Athens resident. The connection between the Stephenson and Fowler families is unknown at this time.


  • ca. 1860-1952

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This collection has no restrictions. This collection is open to the public. Library policy on photography and photocopying will apply. Advance notice may be required. Apply in the Heritage Room for access.

Biographical / Historical

Joel Jackson Fowler, an electrician, worked at the Athens Railway and Electric Company as Superintendent of Distribution. According to the 1916 National Electric Light Association Bulletin, he invented Fowler’s Safety Cut-Out Plug Puller. This device used a wooden tong to replace blown fuses on electrical poles. Two photographs in the collection show Fowler himself demonstrating the item’s use.

Rebecca Fowler, his daughter, taught at David C. Barrow Elementary School and presumably was involved in the Civil Defense (C. D.) during the Second World War, as this collection includes C. D. patches and armbands/ headbands.


.21 Linear Feet (One half letter document box)


Correspondence, photographs, and personal ephemera of the Fowler Family of Athens, Georgia, for the most part pertaining to Joel Jackson Fowler and his daughter, Rebecca.


The collection is organized in a single series.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Joseph Howard Fowler


Joel Jackson Fowler. Find a Grave, Accessed 12 Feb. 2020. Rebecca Ann Fowler. Find a Grave, Accessed 12 Feb. 2020.

Physical Description


Fowler Family collection
Beth Whitlock, Mikaela LaFave, Justin Kau
October 2016, February 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Heritage Room, Athens-Clarke County Library Repository

2025 Baxter Street
Athens GA 30606